Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why I like Purim less

In the days of my youth, I would mock anyone who dared to suggest Purim was anything less than the most marvelous of holidays. Now, I see things their way.

Some of the reasons why Purim scores lower on my joy-a-meter:

1. The endless driving. When I was young, kids didn't distribute Mishloach Maont to their friends. That's changed. Nowadays, all of my kids - and I have like twenty of them - insist on delivering packages to their 3-9 closest friends, and none of them live nearby. As a result I spend Purim morning driving between the four corners of creation. I'm too soft a touch to put an end to it, but between me, you and the blogosphere, I don't like it one bit.

2. The food fights. When the kids were small, dividing up the spoils was easy. The eldest took whatever she liked, and persuaded her smaller siblings that the disgusting, unwanted junk was really the greatest thing in the world. ("Prunes? You love Prunes! Here take four. And to keep things fair, these four chocolate bars are mine.") That no longer works. Now, each and every package is greeted with a chorus of shouts: "I call the soda" "You took the LAST soda." "DAAHHHHHHDEEEE, she's hogging all the soda!" "Nuh-uhhhh." And so on.

3. The Ninth Perek of Esther Chapter 9 is a mishmash of competing perspectives and redundant information. Whole swaths are repetitive and much of it seems like it had to have been been written by someone from a much later moment in time. This bums me out. The sad irony is that my reaction to Esther 9 makes me a victim of my own approach. For years I've been accused of "sucking the joy out of Judaism" by revealing the man hidden behind the curtain, and now the truth about chapter 9 is affecting my own enjoyment of the holiday. Well, to those of you who've complained, I say this: I'm sorry - both because I share your pain, and also because I still think we have nothing to fear from the truth.

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